Posted by: elightkeeper | October 3, 2010

Room of One’s Own

While currently consumed with the detailed work of launching a new virtual school year, I am mindful that I have been sadly neglecting my blog. I have much to say. I have even begun to draft a few arguably insightful posts. They will follow anon.

In the meantime, I would like to offer you a thoughtful guest post from Lorraine, a VLN parent, whose son is in a shared program with his neighbourhood school and VLN. In response to my last post on “Line Ups and Old Technology”, Lorraine emailed me with her view as a work-from-home professional. I particularly liked her observation that virtual education provides an opportunity for students to learn in a way that prepares them for work in the future:

Lorraine writes:

You joke about the office staff having to work three weeks in housecoats and slippers to accommodate the night owls who like to register in the wee hours, were it not for online registration. The flip side of that is those of us who do work in nighties and slippers, sometimes participating in international conference calls, deciding matters of what we feel are of great importance, when we’ve just tumbled out of bed and trundled down the hall to our home office at some ungodly hour of the morning to accommodate the Brits on Greenwich Mean Time. Sometimes, the frumpy look persists throughout the morning, with little excuse of time zones and conference calls. Whatever the reason, I think it makes us more humble and less pretentious as we work.

As we inch towards Flanders and Swanns’ “In the Bath,” a song that proposes the world would be a better, more peaceful place if the politicians would just do their negotiating from the calming confines of a nice, warm bath, I too wonder what difference it makes that our professional uniforms no long define or constrict us as we work from home. I have yet to decide what difference it does make, good or bad, to the work product but, with nothing to support it but simple emotion and wishful thinking, I would like to think I am more productive when comfortable, when at ease in my own surroundings and when able to weave my work life into my home life more humanely. I can toss in a load of the ever present laundry, put a stew on to burble, and make myself a cup of tea in a fully equipped kitchen anytime the urge strikes. There is a down side; working from home also nags me that I must haul out that last assignment for one more go-over in the late evening, when I should be relaxing with my family. While it takes discipline to get down to work at home, it also takes discipline to shut the office door and leave work. A separate room, a room of one’s own as it were, helps immensely but many don’t have that option, sleeping in their office or working in their bedroom. (However you wish to look at it, in a one bedroom or worse yet a bachelor apartment, it always feels like sleeping in the office. The work is always there to guilt you, highly visible, reminding you of that one more bit to finish.)

While you work away in your cubicle (without windows, privacy or fresh air according to CBC) , you make it possible for students to start their journeys as e-commuters. While I found Alvin Toffler a most disagreeable person whose self- aggrandisement verges on untruth, he was right when he summarised the writing of the day to say that computers would make it possible to migrate back to our homes from the forests of office buildings. Who’d ‘uv thunk that my Sinclair 1000 would lead to this?

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